204: Remember What I Came Here to Do to This World Very Little Actually

204: Remember What I Came Here to Do to This World Very Little Actually

Remember What I Came Here to Do to This World Very Little Actually
by Alice Notley

I came here so that the
I came to be equal in surprise to
I came empty-handed before being dried
I am a poisonous epoch
I was at four a shape of love and reason
I was at fifteen capable of heinous pity
I’m not so foolish as to
I think at 34 that I know who the best poets are
I saw your footage of what you said was the age
I meet 6000 men and 15 women on the way to
I thought we would have more influence on
I perform no generous act ‘84
I put self back in the genie bottle for the fad
I, and did I ever love
I, loving truth more than myself, am abased by
I was poor but never poor enough
I have as much authority to speak as
I was against all war and loved mostly soldiers
I have no identity I recognize except in myself
I go in there it’s the page of a book I rip it
I am infidel to country
I, guilty always through speaking, inhale
I, that year, hating the species, thought of myself as inhuman
I think the imagination is more real than
I, I said, presume we’re all fully responsible for
I once visited their great graves that was years ago
I measured that year in sequence of vivid dreams of it
I was once the shaman of a death
I keep trying to be honest in this glittering wind
I find you difficult like as not
I saw it and I said
I will never be complete without the
I caressed him too clumsily
I borrow someone else’s form what else is a body

"Remember What I Came Here to Do to This World Very Little Actually" by Alice Notley, from MYSTERIES OF SMALL HOUSES by Alice Notley, copyright © 1998 Penguin Books. Used by permission of the poet.

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